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Gazebo Ideas for a Peaceful Backyard Retreat

Gazebos: An outdoor living room

What is a Gazebo?

A gazebo is a roofed structure that offers an open view of the surrounding area and provides shade and protection from the elements. It’s one of the earliest forms of outdoor shelter, predating the tent and acting as a garden fixture in many cultures for thousands of years.

The earliest recorded gazebos date back 5,000 years to ancient Egypt where they were typically very ornate structures, often made of stone or wood and used to provide shade, but also as a support for grape vines and other vegetation. In Greece, they were constructed out of marble and were built around temples. They were often dedicated to a particular god or goddess and were considered sacred. In China and Japan, gazebos were used as places of meditation, worship, and prayer. During the Renaissance, gazebo construction expanded into Europe but they did not become popular in the United States until the mid-1800s.

Today, gazebos are typically built for relaxation and entertainment. They can be used for weddings and family gatherings, or as places of quiet contemplation where you and your spouse can share a glass of lemonade while enjoying the ambiance of your garden or backyard. With cultural influences as widespread as Japan, Russia, and India, gazebos designs can be minimalist or complex, depending on the style of the homeowner.

Gazebo Plans and Materials for the Modern Backyard

Gazebos have come a long way since ancient civilization. With advancements in materials and construction, there are many options available to help you create the gazebo of your dreams.

Wood gazebos

Cedar gazebos beautifully display the natural grains and knots of the wood while providing natural moisture resistance and strength.

Metal gazebos

Aluminum frames are gaining in popularity. Aluminum is lightweight and affordable, and can be painted to match existing buildings. Steel can also be used, but it is much heavier and tends to be used in public parks or larger areas where durability is key.

Vinyl gazebos

Vinyl and similar composites require little-to-no maintenance and can be made to look convincingly like stone or brick. They are lightweight and long-lasting.

Gazebo Roof Design

Gazebo roof designs vary as well. While the overwhelming favorite is traditional lumber, popular non-wood roofing materials for gazebos include fabric, plastic, steel, and asphalt shingles.

What’s the Difference Between a Gazebo and a Pergola?

Gazebos can be built in just about any shape and size, but they’re typically round or octagonal and have a closed roof and floor. Unlike traditional gazebos, pergolas do not have floors or closed roofs. They are usually square or rectangular (though they can incorporate curves) with simple post and beam frames and open roofs. Ultimately, while gazebos and pergolas are both open-air structures, pergolas provide shade and add a bit of privacy, while gazebos offer much more protection from the elements. Screens, lighting, ceiling fans, and even TVs can be installed in gazebos, transforming these structures into true outdoor living rooms.

+ More about pergolas and view sample projects

Gazebo Ideas to Inspire

If you feel that your backyard need an upgrade, a gazebo is an excellent way to go. They can be built as stand-alone structures, or integrated with a new custom deck or outdoor kitchen. For those considering building an addition, a gazebo is often a much more economical choice. The closed roof structure offers the obvious advantage of protection from the elements and allows continuous enjoyment of the space regardless of weather.

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David Pfeiffer

About the Author

Hello! I’m David, the General Manager here at Woodland Deck Company. I was introduced to construction at a young age working alongside my Dad. With love for the outdoors, I decided to pursue a degree in horticulture from The Ohio State University. After college, I was fortunate to gain experience working in the landscape industry which eventually led me to Woodland Deck Company.

The thing I like most about Woodland Deck is the great group of people I get to work with daily! If I could describe the culture in one word, it would have to be “family”. One thing I enjoy the most is our Monday morning huddles. Everyone gets to share their “highs” and “lows” of the week. It’s a great time to get to know and encourage one another.

I am blessed to be married to my high school sweetheart and to raise our two beautiful daughters together. On weekends we enjoy spending time outdoors or with our extended families. Some of our best memories have been vacationing in Hilton Head and Florida.

When I find free time, I enjoy a round of golf with friends or fishing in my pond. A few passions of mine are gardening, woodworking, and playing the drums.

I look forward to helping you create your outdoor place of enjoyment!

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